Yorkshire racism crisis: Rafiq says cricket needs 'cultural change' as Ballance issues apology

By Sports Desk November 04, 2021

Azeem Rafiq says cricket desperately needs "reform and cultural change" after Gary Ballance admitted using a racial slur towards his former Yorkshire team-mate.

Ex-England batsman Ballance on Wednesday released a statement admitting he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to during his time at Headingley.

Ballance, 31, said he deeply regrets some of the language he used in his younger years, describing Rafiq as his "best mate in cricket".

The Zimbabwe-born former Yorkshire captain claimed he and Rafiq had "said offensive things to each other which, outside of that context, would be considered wholly inappropriate".

An independent report into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying”.

It also emerged the independent panel had deemed repeated use of the "P***" word against Rafiq was "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo.

Rafiq on Thursday responded to Ballance's statement by posting on Twitter: "I'm not intending to say very much until the [Department for Culture, Media and Sport's] select committee hearing later this month. However, I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals.

"This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Rafiq and Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton are due to appear in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's select committee to give evidence on November 16.

Publishing company Emerald has been among the sponsors Yorkshire have lost due to their handling of the Rafiq case.

Related items

  • Warner and Marsh left out of Australia's T20 squad to face Sri Lanka Warner and Marsh left out of Australia's T20 squad to face Sri Lanka

    David Warner and Mitchell Marsh have been left out of Australia's new-look squad to take on Sri Lanka in next month's T20 series.

    Australia will also be without coach Justin Langer for the five-match series, with the 51-year-old being given a break after a busy period.

    Assistant Andrew McDonald will act as head coach for the series, which runs from February 11 to 20.

    While Australia will be without two of their T20 World Cup stars in Warner and Marsh, Josh Hazlewood is back involved after returning from injury.

    Ben McDermott, who impressed during the Big Bash League campaign, is also included in the 16-man squad that was named on Tuesday.

    "I don't think that I wasn't ready to play for Australia before, but I certainly feel ready now," said McDermott, who has already made 19 appearances for his country. 

    "I feel like I'm at the top of my game. I've developed a lot of learnings through some experiences. 

    "They haven't all been good ones, I won't shy away from that, but I've definitely learned from those experiences and hopefully I come back well."

    The other members of Australia's successful World Cup campaign to miss out on selection are Mitchell Swepson, Daniel Sams, Dan Christian and Nathan Ellis

    National selectors chair George Bailey said: "This squad will begin preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup defence at home later this year and includes several players who have an early chance to impress in these five matches against a quality opposition."

    Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa

  • Andre Russell's two wickets, unbeaten 31 propel MGD to first victory in BPL this season Andre Russell's two wickets, unbeaten 31 propel MGD to first victory in BPL this season

    A strong all-around performance from Andre Russell helped Minister Group Dhaka to their first win in the Bangladesh Premier League on Monday when they defeated Fortune Barishul by four wickets at Mirpur.

  • Romario Shepherd hopeful for maiden IPL contract. "It's something I've dreamed about for a long time." Romario Shepherd hopeful for maiden IPL contract. "It's something I've dreamed about for a long time."

    The Indian Premier League is the most popular T20 franchise league in the world and many cricketers across the globe dream about playing in it one day.

    West Indies all-rounder Romario Shepherd is no different.

    The Guyanese fast bowler and right-handed batsman, who dazzled with the bat with an unbeaten 44 in the second T20 international between the West Indies and England yesterday, has put his name in the last three IPL auctions but is yet to be awarded a contract.

    Speaking in a press conference today, Shepherd says the dream, which at this point is very close to reality, is still alive.

    “It’s a great platform for any youngster. Many people dream to go to the IPL and I’m no different. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about for a very long time. My name was in the draft for the last three years so this year I’m definitely looking forward to it,” he said.

    In the midst of a five-match T20I series with England at the moment, Shepherd says his full focus is on helping the West Indies win.

    “I’m trying my best to get there but, at the same time, trying my best to help us win this series. I try to focus on what is at hand right now and try to put my all in there. Eventually, if an IPL contract comes that would be great for me but I try not to think about it while in the game,” Shepherd said.

    Shepherd has so far played 11 T20 Internationals with 100 runs and eight wickets to his name.

    The IPL player auction is scheduled to take place on February 12 and 13 and he will have another opportunity to enhance his reputation when the West Indies and England square off in the third of five T20 internationals in Barbados on Wednesday.

     

     

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.